Anthony G. Doufas, M.D., Ph.D.

Publication Details

  • Predominant form of non-toxic goiter in Greece is now autoimmune thyroiditis EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ENDOCRINOLOGY Doufas, A. G., Mastorakos, G., Chatziioannou, S., Tseleni-Balafouta, S., Piperingos, G., Boukis, M. A., Mantzos, E., Caraiskos, C. S., Mantzos, J., Alevizaki, M., Koutras, D. A. 1999; 140 (6): 505-511

    Abstract:

    Endemic non-toxic goiter (NTG) in Greece has been attributed primarily to iodine deficiency. Thirty years ago about 60% of the prepubertal boys and girls examined in endemic goiter regions presented with NTG and among them thyroid autoimmunity was rarely detected. Although iodine supplementation has corrected this deficiency during the past 30 years, new cases of NTG still appear. To evaluate the prevalence and type of NTG and the effect of iodine supplementation on them in Greece at present, we performed two cross-sectional clinical studies and a retrospective pathology one: (i) thyroid gland volume and urinary iodine excretion (UIE) were assessed in a representative sample of 1213 schoolchildren from previously endemic and non-endemic regions; (ii) serum thyroxine, tri-iodothyronine, TSH, thyroid autoantibodies (AAB) (anti-thyroid peroxidase and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies) and UIE (in 60 patients) were measured in 300 consecutive patients with NTG from Athens and Heraklion; and (iii) we compared the prevalence of autoimmunity among fine needle aspiration smears of benign thyroid pathologies performed by the same pathologist between 1985 and 1986 (975 cases) and between 1994 and 1995 (2702 cases). We found that 12. 5% of the schoolchildren examined in regions with a previous history of endemic goiter had NTG, whereas this percentage was only 1.7% in areas without such a history. In Athens (61.6%) and Heraklion (58. 5%) a substantial number of NTG patients were AAB positive and biochemically hypothyroid. UIE in Athens did not differ between patients with autoimmune goiter (ATG) and simple goiter. The prevalence of autoimmune stigmata in pathology smears has increased from 5.94% (years 1985-1986) to 13.91% (years 1994-1995) (P<0.05). We conclude that: (i) the persistence of endemic goiter in regional foci despite iodine deficiency correction suggests a possible role for a naturally occurring goitrogen; (ii) ATG is the predominant form of NTG in Greece nowadays; and (iii) the five-fold decrease in the prevalence of NTG during the past 30 years followed by the increase of ATG may support the relative character of the latter.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000081293800005

    View details for PubMedID 10366406

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